Vilsack announces new partners in U.S.-Africa trade initiative

By Breanne Brammer

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WASHINGTON, August 6, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced four new partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) program and up to $1 billion in export credit guarantees to boost trade between the U.S. and Africa during the first-ever Africa Leaders Summit in Washington this week.

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The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM and Kellogg Company join more than 100 GODAN partners that collaborate to make agricultural and nutritional data available for unrestricted worldwide use.

Vilsack made the announcement during the Africa Leaders Summit, where President Barack Obama and government officials met with African delegates. 

"At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa," Vilsack said. "USDA looks forward to further partnering with African nations through the GODAN initiative, and with the new trade opportunities that new financing guarantees will make possible."

GODAN began in October 2013 and supports efforts to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available for global public use.

The export credits are part of Obama's Doing Business with Africa project, which encourages U.S. commercial engagement in Africa. The USDA Commodity Credit Corporation will make $1 billion available in financing guarantees to export U.S. agricultural commodities to Africa over the next two years.

The USDA currently works with nine banks in 49 African countries and will conduct outreach seminars to Africa in 2015 to promote the credit guarantee program.

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